The Crown Weighs Heavy on the One Who Rules
It goes without saying that Glenn Danzig will forever be remembered as punk rock royalty. This fact has been on display multiple times in recent years, from the Riot Fest reunion with The Misfits to the first announcement of Black Laden Crown, the fervor surrounding him has been unparalleled. Though his solo work is more contemporary in nature, his recognizable wails are ever reminiscent of a time when he was cutting his teeth. The difference between then and now is that those teeth are now fully sharpened and ready to tear into the ears of today’s audiences with an eleventh studio album, a testament to the fact that he is eternally cemented into punk and hard rock culture.
Black Laden Crown opens with a track bearing the same name and can best be described as a procession into darkness. Centered around Danzig’s ever-present vocals, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. The opening sequence features a slow but catchy guitar riff supported by a pounding bass drum and hi-hat cymbal that give an impression of permanence and consistency even before the first vocal notes commence. At about four-and-a-half minutes in, the tempo picks up significantly, leading to an energetic climax. This energy carries over into the second track of the album, “Eyes Ripping Fire,” which seems to borrow from proto-thrash influences for its instrumental arrangement, with Danzig’s voice once again being the constant around which it all revolves.
The thrash aura is present through a large part of the album, making appearances on tracks such as the “Devil on Hwy 9,” “But A Nightmare,” “Blackness Falls” and “Pull the Sun” and providing an extra dosage of vigor to counter the slower arrangements.
When all is said and done, Black Laden Crown is sure to be regarded as a classic. The album is eerily reminiscent of the self-titled phase of Danzig’s career, but with a more generous dose of aggression. The only disappointment to be found within this album is the fact that it ends so soon, which may be intentional. Its nine tracks will leave the listener hungry for more, which surely will mean more album plays, online streams and airtime in the upcoming months.